KUWAIT, June 10 A Kuwaiti court sentenced a
woman teacher to a total of 11 years in jail on Monday for
insulting the emir, inciting regime change and insulting a
religious sect via Twitter, two sources close to the case said.
Huda al-Ajmi, 37, is the first woman known to have been
convicted for criticising the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state's
ruler, described as "immune and inviolable" in the constitution.
Kuwait has penalised several Twitter users in recent months
for slurs against the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. The
political trials have drawn rebuke abroad and anger at home.
The sources said the court had given Ajmi two consecutive
five-year terms for insulting the emir and one year for
insulting an unspecified religious sect. "This is the highest
sentence of its kind in these kindS of cases," one source said.
Ajmi has not yet been taken into custody and can appeal the
sentences, the sources said. It is rare for a woman to serve
jail time for political crimes in Kuwait, which allows more
freedom of speech than some other Gulf Arab states.
In April a Kuwaiti court gave an opposition politician five
years in jail for insulting the emir, but an appeals court
overturned the sentence.
In February, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said prosecutors
had charged nearly 25 people with offending the emir, sentencing
at least six to jail terms, since October.
The United States has called on Kuwait to respect freedom of
(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by